|TATTOO HISTORY |
|The Japanese tattoo has a very long history, and may have made its first appearance as far back as the 5th century BC. However, tattoos did not gain|
|respectability for a very long time. From the 6th century AD onwards, they were reserved exclusively for punishment and both criminals and |
|untouchables were identified, with marks on their arms or foreheads. |
|It was only in the late 17th century that the tattoo began to evolve from a shameful brand into a decorative embellishment. But it was not until the|
|mid-1800s that it really started to take off, under the influence of a very popular book called Suikoden or The Water Margin. |
|Finally, just as high society was becoming interested towards the end of 19 century, the government decided that tattooing was a threat to public |
|morality and tried to outlaw it altogether. The country was being opened up to the West for the first time and the fear was that tattooing gave |
|outsiders the wrong impression, suggesting that Japan was a superstitious nation and out of touch with the rest of the world. Ironically, the ban |
|against tattooing did not extend to the incoming foreigners who were thrilled by the intricacy of the Japanese work and only too happy to submit |... [continues]
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